The startups ARED and EarthEnable from Kigali in Rwanda are two of the five green pioneers still in the running for the prize of about cash prize of about UER500,000, an amount set in the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge, one of the largest sustainable enterprise competitions in the world.
ARED has developed the Shiriki Hub, a mobile kiosk with solar panels, a WiFi router and mobile phone charging stations. EarthEnable offers a sustainable and inexpensive solution for cement floors, which are very CO2-intensive.
During the exciting finale on 14 September, the teams will be up against three other finalists: Glowee from France, Lightyear from the Netherlands and Pond from Denmark. During the finale, the winner of the grand prize of half a million euros will be announced.
ARED brings sustainable energy and cheap WiFi to the African countryside, offering a clean alternative to diesel generators. Its franchise business model also provides employment opportunities for people living in remote regions.
Henri Nyakarundi (40), founder of ARED: “It’s amazing to be recognized as a green entrepreneur by such a competition in the field of sustainable innovation. The prize money enables us to scale up our business model and further improve the technology in the Shiriki Hubs.”
EarthEnable, another start-up from Rwanda, has developed a method for making sustainable floors using locally sourced materials. The plant-based oil finish makes these floors easy to keep clean. This Rwandan start-up tackles a global problem, as more than a billion people still live on sandy floors, which are often a breeding ground for parasites and germs. A cement floor is often the only available alternative, but this is expensive and is not eco-friendly. The EarthEnable floors are 75% cheaper than cement floors and reduce the carbon footprint by 90%, offering a cheap green solution for the world’s poorest people.
Gayatri Datar (31), co-founder: “Being among the last five out of 515 entries is already a great achievement and honour. With the prize money we plan to scale within Rwanda and likely in three other countries. The prize money gives us the opportunity to test different scaling models to find a viable scale strategy to improve the health and lives of millions of people who are still living on dirt floors.”
Finale on 14 September
The finale will take place in Amsterdam on 14 September and can be followed via a livestream on the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge website. Leila Janah, founder of Samasource, is this year’s chair of the international jury.
About the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge
To contribute to a greener world, the Dutch Postcode Lottery has organised the annual Postcode Lottery Green Challenge since 2007. It is one of the largest annual international competitions in the field of sustainability innovation. Each participant must submit a detailed business plan to the preliminary jury, who will establish whether the idea is viable. The best business plan that fights climate change wins €500,000. The runner-up receives EUR200,000. Winners from previous editions have successfully developed their innovative products thanks to the publicity and network of the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge.